Gotta Be (Somewhat) Crazie to Be Creative….

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“The creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis–both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Although schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humor, in its lesser form it can increase people’s ability to associate odd or unusual things or to think ‘outside the box’.”

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Gotta Understand This to Understand Behavior – “We’re all mammals – so why do we look so different?”

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Take Aways –

  • Classical studies…have shown that the major differences between mammalian species lie not in the genes themselves, but where genes are switched on and off – that is, in gene regulation.
  • This process resembles evolutionary tinkering, where continuous tweaking of existing DNA sequences can result in new patterns of gene regulation.
  • rather than acquiring wholly new DNA sequences that regulate genes, mammals derive most regulatory innovations from existing DNA – sequences shared to some extent by all mammals today and likely present in the ancestral species from which they evolved – but repurposed in a particular species.

“We’re all mammals – so why do we look so different?”
…This early difference was largely due to the crucial process of gene regulation.

Mammalian species are all quite different in look and size, and have colonised all ecological niches – they can be terrestrial (like humans and mice), aquatic (dolphins and whales) and even aerial (bats). Like humans, all mammals have large, complex genomes – the DNA sequences in our cells. These contain the instructions which are used to construct our bodies and brains. However, the best-understood functional units in our DNA – our genes – take up only 2% of our genome sequence, and are extremely similar across non-marsupial mammals. So what makes us so different? Continue reading

Genes and Childhood Trauma Predict Adult PTSD in Soliders

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These findings are significant for the study of the physiology of PTSD, for the treatment and prevention of stress-related illnesses, and may have implications for treating pain, which has also been linked to the ADRB2 gene.

This is the first report of genetic risk factors for PTSD in National Guard soldiers and adds to the developing evidence base on the role of genetic influences in PTSD… Continue reading